Any country’s potential is always centered around its human capital and unfortunately, Pakistan’s leaders have rarely invested in Pakistan’s human capital. Instead of investing in health and education the Pakistani state has invested in defense – the result is for all to see.
According to Education Secretary Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry Pakistan’s actual literary figures stands at 59.3 percent not 62.8 percent as stated in the Economic Survey 2022-23. In a recent interview Chaudhry “said the rate mentioned in the Economic Survey was based on a projected figure in the absence of the latest census. However, he said following the latest national census, the actual literary rate was calculated at 59.3 percent. He went on to say that this figure was higher than the previous actual figure, therefore “one can’t say that the country’s literacy rate had declined.”
As periodic surveys have shown, not only is education given least priority, but the sector also receives the lowest funding, one of the reasons for a decline in literacy rate. Pakistan spends around 1.7 percent of GDP on education.
Pakistan has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, with over 23 million children not attending schools. According to the Economic Survey, in Balochistan, 47 percent of children were out of school, followed by Sindh which had 44 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had 32 percent and Punjab had 24 percent out-of-school children.
Further, the quality of education is another concern. “Various survey reports on quality of education have painted a gloomy picture, stating that a substantial number of fifth graders were neither able to read a sentence in English nor Urdu. Similarly, the quality of higher education in the country has also fallen below the mark. During the last couple of years, a numbers of PhD holders have staged protests in Islamabad, seeking jobs in government universities.”